European Union: La CEDU Su Diritti D’autore E Libertà Di Espressione

Last Updated: 10 May 2013
Article by Elena Martini

Con sentenza dello scorso 10 gennaio, la Corte Europea dei Diritti dell'Uomo ("CEDU") si è pronunciata sul ricorso n. 36769/08 presentato da tre fotografi di moda professionisti (i "Ricorrenti") contro il Governo francese. I Ricorrenti erano stati condannati in sede penale per aver pubblicato in internet – già dopo poche ore dall'evento – fotografie scattate nel corso di alcune sfilate in violazione del diritto d'autore delle case di moda sulle creazioni presentate, ma lamentavano che tale condanna violasse i loro diritti ai sensi della Convezione Europea dei Diritti dell'Uomo (la "Convenzione").

I fatti risalgono al marzo 2003, quando i tre fotografi, accreditati dalla Federazione Francese della Moda ("FFM") a nome di diverse testate, assistettero ad alcune sfilate effettuandone delle fotografie. Gli scatti così realizzati, in relazione ai quali i Ricorrenti non avevano sottoscritto alcun accordo con gli accreditatori, vennero quindi trasmessi a due società di proprietà degli stessi Ricorrenti, tra cui l'americana "Viewfinder" che dopo l'evento li pubblicò su un sito web dedicato, anche ai fini della rivendita. Tale condotta costò ai Ricorrenti l'avvio di un procedimento penale a loro carico dinanzi al tribunale penale di Parigi per contraffazione mediante "diffusione o rappresentazione, con qualsiasi mezzo, di un'opera dell'ingegno in violazione dei diritti d'autore", ai sensi degli articoli L 335-2 e L 335-3 del Codice della Proprietà Intellettuale Francese ("CPIF"). Dopo un'assoluzione in primo grado, i Ricorrenti vennero condannati in appello e Cassazione. In particolare, non si ritenevano integrati nel caso di specie i presupposti dell'eccezione di cui all'art. L 122-5(9) CPIF allora in vigore, in base alla quale, quando un'opera d'arte grafica, plastica o architettonica è ormai divulgata, l'autore non può vietarne la riproduzione per scopi di informazione immediata, purché ne risulti chiaramente indicata la paternità. (...)

All'esito della condanna penale, i Ricorrenti convennero quindi il Governo francese dinanzi alla CEDU lamentando una duplice violazione della Convenzione: in primis, una violazione dell'art. 7 (nulla poena sine lege) da parte della Cassazione francese che a torto avrebbe giudicato inapplicabile l'eccezione ex art. L 122-5(9) dandone un'interpretazione restrittiva e allargando così il campo di applicazione del reato di contraffazione; in secondo luogo, i Ricorrenti ritenevano la condanna subita un' ingerenza ingiustificata nell'esercizio della loro libertà di espressione ex art. 10 della Convenzione.

Quanto al primo motivo, nella decisione in commento la CEDU precisa che non compete ad essa un sindacato sugli errori di fatto o di diritto eventualmente commessi dai giudici nazionali, salvo nel caso in cui tali errori comportino un attentato ai diritti salvaguardati dalla Convenzione, cosa da escludersi nella fattispecie. In relazione invece alla seconda doglianza, la CEDU rileva che l'art. 10 della Convenzione stabilisce che sono concesse restrizioni alla libertà di espressione, purché "previste dalla legge" e "necessarie in una società democratica" ad assicurare una serie di fini legittimi. Nessun dubbio sul fatto che la restrizione in questione fosse prevista dalla legge (artt. L 335-2 e L 335-3 CPIF) e avesse un fine legittimo (la "protezione di un diritto altrui"); in aggiunta, la Corte conclude positivamente anche sul carattere "necessario" della medesima.

A tale ultimo riguardo, la CEDU premette che "quando il fine perseguito è quello della «protezione di diritti e libertà altrui» anch'essi protetti dalla Convenzione o dai suoi Protocolli, bisogna ammettere che la necessità di proteggerli possa condurre gli Stati a restringere altri diritti o libertà parimenti tutelati dalla Convenzione" quali ad esempio i diritti d'autore. Tuttavia, nel caso di specie, la Corte ritiene che i giudici francesi abbiano correttamente utilizzato il proprio margine di apprezzamento facendo prevalere i diritti esclusivi d'autore degli stilisti sulla libertà di espressione dei Ricorrenti. Margine di apprezzamento peraltro ampio in un caso come questo in cui la libertà di espressione veniva rivendicata in ambito strettamente commerciale, e non in relazione ad un "interesse generale" all'informazione data: la CEDU precisa infatti che non si può affermare che i Ricorrenti abbiano contribuito a un "dibattito di interesse generale" per il solo fatto di aver rese accessibili al pubblico le immagini della sfilata.

La sentenza ha quindi escluso qualsiasi violazione dell'art. 10 della Convenzione, così come qualsiasi asserita sproporzione delle sanzioni pecuniarie irrogate.

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